SPOILERS: Ripple Effect. BIG TIME.
Notes: Started as a thought on my way home from work. I actually pulled over and jotted down certain lines, so I wouldn't forget.
Faith in Life
by ALC Punk!
The four members of SG-1 came through the gate just a little dispiritedly. Sure, they'd tried to steal the ZPM from their counterparts in another reality, but the outcome should have been more hopeful. They'd done it to save their own people, and it had back-fired. Spectacularly.
Before Cameron could say something, anything, that might bring them back from the defeat, they all registered something.
The gateroom was silent except for the sound of their boots on the ramp. A quick scan showed the control room deserted as well. Cameron didn't have to say anything, Carter was moving ahead, her P-90 up and ready a second later.
"This has to be the Ori," Daniel muttered. Daniel was prone to muttering. His teammates had gotten used to it, even if it sometimes drove them insane. Or he blew their cover. Not that the gate whooshing open wouldn't have alerted anyone in the general vicinity (not to mention the alarms that would certainly have gone off) to their presence.
"Let's keep our options open." Cameron instructed.
Sam peered around the door, then slid around it. The others followed shortly when she gave the all-clear.
Down the hall, then up into the silence of the control room. It was strange to see the computers all on with no one watching. Dancing Egyptians were cavorting across one of the screens before Carter jiggled the mouse.
"We had an acknowledgment, right, Sam?"
"Yeah." She carefully typed a sequence into the keyboard, then inspected the result. "According to this, our signal was received and the all-clear sent while the iris was opened. But it was opened through computer control." She frowned and typed some more. "There's a recorded message, Cameron."
She glanced over her shoulder at him, Daniel and Teal'c, then nodded and depressed a few more keys.
The screen went black, and then the image of Walter appeared. He looked nervous and exhausted. He cleared his throat, then started, voice oddly flat. "Sirs, if you're seeing this, you've made it back and... we haven't." He paused, glancing away to deal with something, then looked back, "General Landry would be recording this, except that he's been struck down by the Ori plague. So have most of Washington, Paris, and London. We lost contact with China sometime last night. I--"
Black filled the screen and it jiggled, then Walter came back, looking even worse than before. "We're sending as many people through the gate as we can, but it won't be enough. The Ori--they're winning. I don't know if you'll make it back in time. Hell, I don't think anyone would make it back in time. But you're SG-1... No rabbits, this time, huh?
"Once the last group has gone through, we'll be setting the auto-receiver to let you back in." He paused, "I don't think there will be any living humans left on Earth when you make it back. The base self-destruct is set to go off in four months, if you haven't returned."
Walter rubbed a hand over his face, "Good luck, SG-1."
The message ended, silence falling in the control room again.
Sam typed at the keyboard, quickly pulling up telemetry and radio data. There was nothing.
"Talk to me, Sam."
"Sir, I'm scanning broadcast frequencies, and getting nothing."
Cameron didn't really want to say it first, but he figured he was the leader. "There's nothing left, is there."
"We don't know that," Sam said, quickly. As if she were trying to convince herself.
"If the Tau'ri have indeed fallen to the Ori, then we must make a stand."
"Well, I guess this says something about our karma," Daniel noted, his tone dry.
Teal'c spoke before Cameron could, "Daniel Jackson, now is not the time for recrimination."
"Right. Jackson, you and Teal'c head through the gate to the Beta Site. There's probably still resistance there. You should be good for a while before they find you. Sam, I want you to head to where the Tok'ra last were, update them on what's happened."
"And you?" Sam asked as she stood and looked at him. "What are you planning to do?"
"Activate the self-destruct. If Earth is lost, we're not leaving them the gate to corrupt."
She crossed her arms, "You'll need me."
"That's an order, Colonel."
"You need two officers to activate the self-destruct. Sir."
"You know, I don't think Teal'c and I should go, either," Daniel put on his best baffled look. "I mean, after all, as we are SG-1, shouldn't we be here for the end of the world?"
"There is little hope that the resistance will win against the Ori without some impetus," noted Teal'c. "Perhaps, the sacrifice of the four of us will stir them to victory."
"But no one's gonna know if you don't get out there to tell them--"
"Well, actually, we could rig a broadcast of some sort. Set it as a repeating beacon with the satellites still orbiting Earth." Sam suggested. "Then everyone would know..."
"Are you all listening to yourselves? You're talking about sacrificing your lives--pointlessly, I might add--to send a message to a bunch of aliens who don't give a crap about us, anyway."
"And are our lives worth more than Atlantis'?" Sam asked softly, meeting his gaze. "We were willing to let them die, and for what? Nothing."
"Besides, maybe I'll ascend again," Daniel suggested. "Or all of us might. Then we could really kick the Ori's asses."
"Do they even have asses?"
A slight smile tugged at Sam's lips. "Sir, you'll have to shoot us, first. We're not going."
"Okay, fine. Say I let you stay--"
Cameron threw up his hands, "I bet O'Neill never had mutinies on his hands."
"Uh, actually, Jack did have trouble keeping us in line."
"You know what? Fine. You can all stay. We'll go up together, and the galaxy will know that SG-1... did what?"
There was silence for a moment, then Teal'c said, "Perhaps there is more we can do."
"Yeah," Mitchell tilted his head, frowning, "Hey, Sam, didn't you say there was something you could do with the gate to disrupt the second beachhead?"
"I have a theory, but it would probably destroy the gate." She swallowed, "And Earth."
"Right. So, really no minuses, there." Daniel noted. "Either it goes up in the self-destruct, or like this."
"How long will it take to do the thing?"
Sam sat back down at the computer and began typing, "My theoretical program was already done, I just need to pull it from the mainframe and initialize it here." She glanced over her shoulder at Cameron. "The thing is, we won't be able to tell if it worked."
"Still not going." Daniel said firmly.
"Stop bothering me and let me work."
"Right." Cameron threw up his hands. "So we're still all going to die."
"But we'll die with a purpose." Cameron clapped his hands. "Yeah." He looked down, tried to grin and failed. "Die with a purpose. Sounds like a plan."
"Cameron Mitchell." As if sensing that the colonel was becoming slightly unhinged, Teal'c stepped closer to him and clapped a hand on his shoulder. "We are doing as we have always done."
"The right thing. Which, okay, so trying to steal a ZPM wasn't the right thing, but I guess we can't all be perfect."
"No, Jackson, I suppose we can't. Sam?"
"You know, Sam, now Sam's perfect," Cameron said, waving a hand at the seated colonel. "She never--"
Daniel coughed, and interrupted. "One word: Replicarter."
"Jackson, stop distracting our science expert from her job."
"It's all right," Sam stood, one hand absently touching the P-90 she'd set on the desk, "I'm done."
There was a moment of silence, then Cameron nodded, "Let's do it."
SG-1 moved forward to watch the gate as Sam pressed a few buttons, and the dialing sequence began. "I'm not sure that we'll see anything, but, it won't matter. This place will go up like the self-destruct went off. And probably take half the planet with it."
"Yeah, Sam, about that. Just what are you doing?" Daniel asked.
"I designed the dialing program to dial the second beachhead, and the gate attached the black hole simultaneously. If it works right, it'll short-circuit subspace, and everything connected to it will go boom."
"Yay." Cameron confirmed. "Boom is good. Boom means, no more Ori."
The fourth chevron locked.
"For the time being."
"Yeah. Y'know, Jackson, why don't you, contemplate ascension, or something." Cameron slung an arm around Sam's shoulder.
The fifth chevron locked.
Sam wrapped an arm around his waist.
"I ever tell you I wanted a dog?"
"Well, I do. A springer, I'm thinkin'. Something bouncy--"
The seventh chevron locked, and for a moment, the world was silent.
The world went white.
Further note: AMUSINGLY enough, Duran Duran's "Last Night on Earth" was playing while I wrote the beginning out. And the line I needed to remember the most? Daniel's one about karma.